Printmakr is a subsidiary of Steamforged Games Ltd (Steamforged). Originally established in Worcester by Aitch Parker in 2017 under the name Clockwork 3D Printing, the company served as a bureau, providing 3D printing services to businesses across the UK.
During this time Manchester based Steamforged approached Aitch to undertake some 3D printing for its new ‘Guild Ball’, table top fantasy medieval football game. The contract was to produce master models to support the production of figures for their Kickstarter campaign.
Having seen the results of the 3D prints and service, and being impressed, Steamforged approached Aitch about the potential of him working directly for them. After discussions Steamforged invested in both Aitch and his business, and now they form a part of Steamforged games.
Today as PrintMakr it services the needs of Steamforged, whilst also still acting as a bureau, fulfilling the needs of external clients.
Interest in the external bureau services is growing, not just for the production of gaming figures but with other manufacturers, interested in the quality results PrintMakr is capable of.
Why look at 3D printing?
As with the Jewelry industry, prior to the adoption of 3D printing, models were traditionally produced by hand, either from clay or wax to be directly cast or to produce molds for mass production.
Both methods were time consuming and required many hours of skilled working of the materials to produce the models. Neither produced the quality provided by 3D printed solutions.
PrintMakr works with digital sculptors, and from the very beginning has been purely digitally sculpting models. The business prides itself on high end, high quality work and the detailed figures it brings to the tabletop gaming market.
The use of digital design and 3D printing allows it to achieve this quality and accurately translate the CAD designs into real world objects. The speed of modern 3D printing also means that re-printing models and producing multiple different iterations is far easier.
The use of materials such as EnvisionTEC’s RC series allows for the production of models with exceptional surface quality that reflect the original vision of the designer.
Having the ability to produce such fine detailed models allows this detail to then be transferred from the master to the mold. This in turn ensures subsequent mass produced resin cast or metal models look as close to the original as possible.
With a range of machines available in the market, and with the number growing daily, the PrintMakr team understood the importance of getting the right model. One that would reproduce the intricate details of their customer models and require little finishing.
Aitch began the process of exploring the market, looking at what the competition were using and visiting forums and websites to look for recommended brands and technologies. After looking at the competition including seeing FormLabs machines, PrintMakr contacted distributor GVUK and had a demonstration of the EnvisionTEC desktop printers. The results were startling, providing far superior print quality and speed.
The team settled on an EnvisionTEC Desktop XL for its impressive build size and quality, combined with RC90 resin to provide crisp, clean and robust prints. The printer was also compatible with the in house Z-Brush CAD software.
The quality of the bureau service provided by PrintMakr has resulted in a growing appetite for its services. This in turn is starting to push the limits of the current 3D printer. The team are now investigating the potential of moving to a larger Perfactory model printer to give them even more capacity without compromising on speed and accuracy.
“We are currently looking to increase our print capacity to meet demand. EnvisionTEC’s range allows you to start small and grow as your needs grow. The best thing is that the quality of the prints is not compromised as your machine gets larger.” - Aitch Parker, PrintMakr.
“Other machines just did not offer us the high-quality detailed prints we needed.” - Aitch Parker, PrintMakr.